The Origins of the family name Williams
The Welsh name Williams is a patronymic surname derived from the personal name William, which is in turn derived from the Old German names Willihelm and Willelm (the Norman French version was Guillaume).
Following the Norman Conquest of 1066, William became the most popular personal name in Britain for a time.
Although there are comparatively few Welsh surnames, they have a great many spelling variations. Variations of Welsh names began almost immediately after their acceptance within Welsh society.
In the Middle Ages, it was up to priests and the few other people that recorded names in official documents to decide how to spell the names that they heard. Variations that occurred because of improper recording increased dramatically as the names were later transliterated into English. The Brythonic Celtic language of Wales, known by natives as Cymraeg, featured many highly inflected sounds that could not be properly captured by the English language.
Spelling variations were, however, also carried out according to an individual's design: a branch loyalty within the family, a religious adherence, or even patriotic affiliations were all indicated by the particular variation of one's name.
The spelling variations of the name Williams have included Williams, Quilliams, Guilliam, Guilliams and others.
First found in Breconshire and Monmouthshire on the English/Welsh border, where the Williams family held a family seat from very ancient times.
Many people from Wales joined the general migration to North America in the 19th and 20th centuries, searching for land, work, and freedom. Like the many other immigrants from the British Isles, they made a significant contribution to the development of Canada and the United States.
The Welsh and their descendents added a rich cultural tradition to the newly developed towns, cities, and villages. An investigation of the immigration and passenger lists has revealed a number of people bearing the name Williams:
David Williams and Elizabeth Williams, who both settled in Virginia in 1623;
as did Edward Williams in 1624;
Richard Williams, who came to Maine in 1630.
Motto ‘Ensuivant la verite’, Translated: ‘By following the truth’.
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